As summer gears up, Case Western Reserve University students are pursuing a variety of different experiences before a new academic year begins. And for some, those opportunities are found abroad. Whether studying death, dying and euthanasia in the Netherlands; exploring archaeological sites in Rome; or conducting biology field research in Costa Rica, CWRU offers many opportunities for students to get up close and personal with their passions—and find new ones along the way. Curious what their experiences have been like? The Daily is putting the spotlight on students who are studying—or recently traveled—abroad.
This week, we’re featuring Adriana Kamor, a rising second-year student studying computer science. Originally from Long Island, New York, Kamor recently finished up a study abroad program in Paris, France, through CWRU’s May Session.
During the three-week experience, Kamor took classes at museums and cafes around Paris, a city that has long held her interest.
“I’ve been studying French since I was in seventh grade, so the language has been a passion of mine,” she explained. “I had visited Paris once before when I was younger and was looking for an opportunity to go back.”
Learn more about Kamor’s experiences in this week’s Q&A.
1. You shared a photo with us about your travels. Can you give some background on it?
The photo I wanted to feature was from when we visited the Eiffel Tower while off from class time. I know that seems a little cliché, but it had a whole different meaning by the end of the trip when I could actually pick out the different places we visited. In the foreground, you could see the Seine, Paris’ well known river. We had taken walks on the bridges across the Seine many times and even had a fruit and cheese board night on the banks of the Seine!
Past the buildings, there is a large forest area which is known as Bois du Boulogne, a great place to connect with nature. There’s also a park there that we visited, called Jardin d’Acclimatation. It may be hard to see, but in the forest there’s a wavy building that reminds me of the Peter B. Lewis Building. Do you want to know why? This building was actually designed by the same architect who designed PBL! Frank Gehry designed many buildings across the world and this one is Fondation Louis Vuitton, an art museum.
2. What was your favorite part of studying abroad?
In our class, “Immigration and the Paris experience,” we were able to see the cultural differences between immigration in the United States versus in France, which I thought was super interesting. Despite it being the same topic, immigration covered different groups of people, public perception and political action. However, I would have to say one of my absolute favorite parts was meeting new people, both from our group of students and out in the city. The people who I took the course with from CWRU have been so amazing, and we were able to travel together and make more friends who either lived locally or were also studying abroad.
3. What is something you learned about yourself in Paris?
My ability to navigate through problems we encountered definitely surprised me. From getting directions to museums for class from spending over an hour booking some train tickets, there were definitely some stressful moments but we were able to handle them as a group and get the job done. I really had to learn how to stay calm and work with the tools I had, especially on days where we had travel delays or trouble with getting to class due to some transportation issues.
4. Do you encourage other students to study abroad?
Yes, and I would give that answer every time. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to open your perspective and surround yourself with a culture that may have a different way of life or ideals compared to the United States. It’s also a great opportunity to explore, learn to be independent, and face challenges. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, I would say to go for it because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and will allow you to grow so much.
5. How has your global perspective changed since your Paris trip?
Studying abroad definitely opened my eyes to global tourism and the line between respectfully engaging in tourist activities versus objectifying the people who live there. Living there for 3 weeks, I saw how a lot of tourists expected everyone in Paris to speak English, or how they chose to not adapt to a new lifestyle, for example how the eggs are cooked and choosing to keep sending them back to the kitchen. There is a difference between learning and experiencing a new place and then trying to bring your own culture and implanting it into a place that already has an established culture. This has definitely changed my perspective on travel and how I will choose to approach tourism from now on, as I was able to see the other side of things being a student who was abroad for more than a couple days.